A noble smoking a hookah, probably Tedhi Singh of Mankot (reigned 1710-30, died. 1750)

Artist: Master of the Court of Mankot (Indian, active early 18th century)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1700-1730
Mankot school
Opaque watercolor and gold and tin on paper
H x W (overall): 21.3 × 29.8 cm (8 3/8 × 11 3/4 in)
India, Uttarakhand state, Mankot
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


courtier, hookah, India, portrait, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, smoking

To 2003
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York, New York [1]

From 2003 to 2018
Catherine Glynn Benkaim purchased from Terence McInerney in New York City in March 2003

From 2018
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim


[1] According to information from Catherine Glynn Benkaim.

Previous Owner(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd.
Catherine Glynn Benkaim


Very little is known about the life of Raja Tedhi Singh of Mankot (r. 1710-30, d. 1750?). A master artist produced this extraordinary portrait. Sizzling with energy, its forms are springy (note, for example, the taut curve of the hookah tube) and its positive and negative spaces, as well as its areas of saturated color and intricate pattern, are precisely balanced. The palette is both luscious and subtle: its brilliant peori yellow background attains a succulent intensity in contrast to smaller areas of pink, navy, silver and red.
Across Pahari courts, this composition for seated portraits of hooka-smoking rulers was common. The lower third of the painting is entirely covered with a vertically striped dhurrie. The ruler sits on a smaller carpet that extends to lower edge of painting. The background is an intense peori yellow, while the textiles are patterned.

Published References
  • The International Asian Art Fair. London, 2003. front cover.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Rights Statement

(not entered)